Each cruise line sets out to create an identity for how it can appeal to its passengers.
Holland America Line, for example, has beautifully crafted an image by offering voyages the contemporary world traveler who enjoys culture, music and food.
I’ll go ahead and add art. The newest ships are loaded with fun modern creations that will make you stop in your tracks.
In fact, Holland America’s newest ship Nieuw Statendam further refines the cruise line’s identity with all of these features and more. Nieuw Statendam launched in late 2018 and carries just over 2,600 passengers (a mid-size ship in today’s cruise era).
I sailed as a member of the media on a short cruise leading up to the naming ceremony for the ship, whose godmother is Oprah Winfrey. While onboard, I identified seven reasons while you’ll love a cruise on Nieuw Statendam.
Holland America, under the leadership of Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, created the Culinary Council (tapping the minds of seven world-class chefs) to help generate top-notch cuisine and unique flavors and styles in the dining options onboard.
Nieuw Statendam reveals the high-quality food choices with a handful of specialty eateries. Rudi’s Sel de Mer restaurant offers French-Mediterranean flavors, with choices like salt crust baked branzino, seafood tower, escargot bourguignon, lobster tail and duck cassoulet.
Pinnacle Grill features steaks and seafood sourced from the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and Canaletto is the ship’s family style Italian restaurant. Plus, Tamarind offers awesome Asian dishes and a sushi bar.
The main dining room has fine dining and cruise classics. Plus, more casual options are excellent. The Lido Market buffet has fresh fare at the carving station and a made-to-order salad area. We also love the Dive In grill out by the pool where you can grab burgers, melts and hot dogs (make sure to add the crispy fries, too). There’s more: pizza and subs at New York Pizza (breakfasts, too) and sandwiches and sweets at Grand Dutch Café.
Designs on Holland America’s newest ship incorporate so many interesting works and unique pieces that they are impossible to miss and certainly stand out as a highlight when you’re onboard.
The eye-catching art is hung on walls in along corridors in public areas and along your hallways to your stateroom. You’ll also find random sculptures and other pieces displayed in the stairways between decks and in the elevator lobby areas.
The nightlife is centered around the music and casual camaraderie that builds each night as passengers pour into the Music Walk that spans Deck 2 midship. The space features four genres of music at three different venues, complete with bars and serving staff to fill your drink orders.
You can settle in at one of the areas for the night or wander to see as many acts as possible. B.B. King’s Blues Club offers lively music that folks dance to late into the night. Lincoln Center Stage is the place to hear classic favorites and classic takes on more modern songs played by a string quarter with piano accompaniment. Billboard Onboard is a dueling piano bar where cruisers fill in around the performers to sing along. Rolling Stone Rock Room has a house band that jams to rock classics.
Nieuw Statendam has two pools, and they are about the same size. The Lido Pool is the main pool in midship on Deck 9, and you’ll be located in the heart of the action with the big video screen, stage area, and the Gelato ice cream parlor and lines for Dive In.
But we prefer the more quiet and serene vibe at the Seaview Pool at the aft of Deck 9. There are two hot tubs, loungers, tables, shaded areas and a bar. Plus, the great views of the wake and a chance to bask in the sunshine in a most relaxing way.
The Greenhouse Spa and Salon is an oasis of spa services and relaxation, a great space to escape for a little “me time.” Cruisers staying in spa suites or staterooms enjoy privileges to the Thermal Suite.
You also can purchase a cruise-length pass to get access to this facility, which features a variety of saunas, hydrotherapy pool relaxation lounge with heated loungers, floor-to-ceiling views of the sea and experience showers.
This is the place to come to research the destinations and pick out excursions on your cruise itinerary. The large facility on Deck 12 features a delightful coffee shop and lounge area with great vistas through large panoramic windows.
Dozens of comfortable seating areas offer places to relax with the views. Bookshelves hold all kinds of cultural and travel reading materials. Interactive touch-screen computers allow you to look up in-depth information on your port areas.
The main theater on Deck 2 is a jaw-dropping space. This is a high-tech, two-deck theater with a 270-degree wraparound LED screen that engulfs you in a high-definition light-and-sound display during the shows. You feel fully immersed in the productions, which range from music performances to song-and-dance productions to enrichment programming like BBC Earth films.
John Roberts is a freelance writer and operator of InTheLoopTravel.com. He writes about cruising and active travel, highlighting how people can connect with the world and other cultures through rewarding travel experiences.